THE parents of a girl who is battling a rare cancer have thanked fundraisers after their appeal to pay for treatment abroad passed the £200,000 milestone.
Garry and Michelle Simpson said they were "absolutely chuffed" to have raised 40 per cent of the total needed for therapies unavailable on the NHS should their daughter, Fraja, six, suffer a relapse of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma.
The couple, of RAF Leeming, near Bedale, North Yorkshire, where Mr Simpson works as a flight sergeant, said while consultants say Fraja remains free of the disease, there remains a high likelihood the cancer will return.
Mr Simpson said while the RAF Leeming Community Primary School pupil was looking forward to family days out over the summer holidays, she having to cope with underlying health problems, including issues with her kidneys.
He said: "When somebody looks ill the sympathy is there, but trying to explain to people when somebody looks well on the outside is difficult."
Mr Simpson, who comes from Consett, said they hoped to have added a further £50,000 to the appeal by Christmas and urged residents to continue coming up with eye-catching fundraising events.
He said: "It's the variety of things people are doing which is absolutely amazing, from skydiving to quizzes, to giving up alcohol for a year.
"This year people have really thought about the contribution they can make and have come up with phenomenal ideas."
Mrs Simpson added: "It means the world to us to know she is thought of by so many."
Upcoming fundraising events include an Emmerdale cast led by Chris Chittel taking on cricketers at Crakehall, near Bedale, on August 10, Consett firefighter Steve Birbeck cycling from London to Newcastle in less than 24 hours and Mr Simpson's RAF colleague Gary Broderick completing the Hadrian's Wall half marathon.
An attempt to set a world record for the number of runs scored in a cricket match at Crakehall has been rescheduled for September following wet weather, and a live music night near Durham is being planned for next month.
Appeal organisers will stage an autumn ball on October 4, which will include a three-course meal, live music, entertainment and an auction featuring celebrity memorabilia at The Lancastrian Suite at Dunston, Gateshead.
For details about fundraising, donating or providing prizes for auctions, visit facebook.com/FrajaEllieAppeal